Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A chorus of disapproval

It's hardly surprising to learn that Starbucks is avoiding paying tax in the UK

On a serious note, this is a corporation that has invested a good deal of money in corporate communications to prove that it is an ethical business.  It pays farmers a fair sum for their efforts and has a strong CSR (corporate social responsibility) policy.  But really it's just corporate wank isn't it?

The same is true of Facebook, which also pays significantly less tax than you or I would expect.  And E-Bay too.  And Google.  You may see a pattern here.

Just because a company is meeting its legal obligations doesn't mean it is meeting its moral obligations.  I'm guessing that Starbucks needs a road infrastructure to support its business success, so at that simple level, it is free-riding.  Hopefully these multinationals, and the others that use clever accountants and lawyers to push their money, will be shamed into 'doing the right thing'.  But I doubt it - look at the experience of the banks and other financial institutions who continue their arrogant strutting oblivious to the misery they've caused through their greed. I hope to hear a chorus of disapproval

It was one of those challenging days yesterday...funny how that happens.

The final straw was to read Bloggertropolis and find that Steve has decided to stop.  All the bloggers I read are very dear to me, and every day I look forward to seeing what they have put their mind to....they feel like part of the family.  Bloggertropolis was one of the first that I started to read, and I've always felt that Steve has such a wonderful talent that it's a crying shame he doesn't have a column in a newspaper...his writing is clever, witty and he deserves a wider audience.

Of course Steve's not the first to go, and he won't be the last...I know some of my dearer blogger friends are wavering even as I type this, so in a way it's just something you get used to...and it provides the opportunity to go and find other daily reads, but it does leave a small hole in your day...well my day.  So to all those bloggers that have put there pen down over the years...thanks for all the words that added to my life.

Steve...good luck - it's been a pleasure.

I was somewhat duped buying a remote control for my camera this week from Amazon.  The picture on the website was of an original, the product that arrived was a Chinese copy.  Foolishly I should have twigged that when I couldn't get the thing from Sony, and the one through Amazon was immediately available and cheap, there was something not quite right.  The picture on the box shows a Sony remote, the device itself is branded differently.  It works, and that's the main thing, but really I disapprove of those far eastern fakes...and if it survives our holiday next week, it will have done its job.  Still I do believe that Amazon should take full responsibility and shouldn't be encouraging the fake trade.

I've written before about suddenly finding out about things that at any age you can some how learn things that you should have known for years.  In this case, I turned left out of Leicester Square tube and then first left again...the route I knew I had to take.  Except I found myself in the middle of China Town.  And that wasn't where I'd expected to find it...somehow in spite of all my years in London, I had never, ever been to this part of China Town.  I was totally and completely confused.  I turned to the maps on my mobile, but couldn't accept what I saw, so wandered around for quite a while.  I nearly called The Cat's Mother to come and rescue me I was so confused.  Eventually I found my common sense, looked again at the maps and followed the route to my destination....but not without a very high degree of bemusement as I studied all the Chinese shops, restaurants and decorations around me.  How very strange indeed that I had never been down this road before given how much of my social life has been spent in and around the West End.

We walked out of a play last night...for me that was a first.  This wasn't an amateur production in the local was A Chorus of Disapproval starring the normally excellent Rob Brydon.  The play was written by Alan Ayckborn in the early eighties and it hasn't aged well...did anyone really care about the goings on of a regional amateur operatic society even then?  I doubt it.  It would have helped if we'd been familiar with The Beggar's Opera as the characters in the one reflect the characters in the other, but really in Chorus the characters were just cardboard cut-outs - the tart with the heart, the rather over-Welsh Welshman, the loud, brash Yorkshireman, the feckless husband and so on.  The acting was wooden.  The four grown-ups couldn't get out of the theatre quickly enough, as we headed to the bar at half-time we were as one in our chorus of disapproval.  The two teenage girls braved it until the end.  So that's an education for them, and a reminder to us to appreciate a good play when we next see one.